Chest or Bust
This measurement is used for tops and dresses.
Place one end of the tape measure at the fullest part of your bust and wrap it around your body to get the measurement, keeping the tape parallel to the floor.
This measurement is used for tops, dresses, and bottoms.
Most clothing lines use the measurement of the “natural waist” for their size guides. To measure your natural waist, you want to find the narrowest part of your waist, located above your belly button and below your rib cage.
Note some brands use a “low” waist measurement. For this, you would measure at the point where your trousers would normally ride.
This measurement is used for bottoms and sometimes for dresses.
Stand with your hips together and measure the fullest part of your hips. Be sure to go over your buttocks as well. It might be challenging to keep the tape consistently level when you do it alone; it is recommended that you have a friend assist you with this or that you do it in front of a mirror.
This measurement is used for trousers and jeans.
The inseam is the distance from the uppermost part of your thigh to your ankle. It is easiest to measure the inseam based on a well-fitting pair of pants. Measure from the crotch to the cuff on the inside seam of the leg. The number of inches, to the nearest ½”, is the inseam length. It’s best to measure your inseam with a pair of shoes on so that you can ensure the hem hits at the right point on your shoe.
For women, keep in mind that the accurate inseam measurement depends on whether you’re wearing heels or flats. The hem should hit at the middle of the heel shaft or should hit just slightly above the flat shoe. It would be best for women to take two measurements for inseams — one for trousers you’d wear with heels, and one for trousers you’d wear with flats.
How Measurements Correspond to Sizes
The first thing to look for when online shopping is the size chart. Clothing manufacturers will lay out bust, waist, and hips measurements in inches or centimeters that correspond to sizes. Each brand or designer uses a different scale, so it’s best to check the measurements on which that brand bases its sizing.
Taking Time to Measure Can Make Shopping More Successful
Having your measurements ensures that you will know the best size to get for your clothes. It is an easy way to take much of the risk out of online shopping, and can be helpful if you’re looking at doing alterations to your clothes as well.